We got checked in and settled in to our room, and I agreed to a check for dilation. I was so disappointed when the nurse told me I was only at 3 cm - I felt like my body had been working really hard for quite a while, and that just didn't seem like a lot of progress to me. Our doula was pleased, though, and reminded us that I had made quite a bit of progress since my last OB visit on Thursday, when my cervix had been high and closed. After they took me off the monitor, I got into the tub. It was a great feeling, even though it did space my contractions out a little. I was feeling really tired by then, and was thankful that I could sleep a little between contractions.
When the nurse checked again around 5 am...I was still at 3 cm. Cue big-time discouragement. I had been up for over 21 hours at that point, my body had been working hard, and I was exhausted. I started asking about pain meds, just so I could rest...but at that point, I hadn't been fully admitted to the hospital because they couldn't give me an "active labor" diagnosis. My doctor was due to arrive at 7 am, so the on-call doctor decided to let me stay until then (instead of sending me home). My doctor came in to say hello when she arrived, suggested IV fluids to combat the fatigue and dehydration (I agreed) and told me that she was heading to surgery and would check my progress when she was done. She finally came back around 11 am and checked me...still a 3. I nearly cried. I was so tired!
I decided to ask for an epidural. I knew I had a lot of work yet to do, and I knew I didn't have the energy or strength left to do it. It was placed around 12:30, and I felt immediate relief. Doctor checked me again about an hour later, and I had progressed to 4 cm. It wasn't a lot, but I was so relieved to know that *something* was happening. I napped for an hour or two after that [things are a little blurry from here]...and shortly after started feeling my contractions again. I was about 6 cm dilated, and I agreed to "a whiff" of pitocin to get things going. With the contractions, I just felt pressure at first, then discomfort, then pain. Unbearable pain. I also got a sudden splitting headache...and the awful heartburn I've been battling this whole pregnancy came back about then too. I was screaming through contractions at that point. The anesthesiologist came back to boost my epidural, but it didn't help. Then catheter fell out of my epidural, so the doctor came back to give me a second one (which didn't "take"). I couldn't stop screaming, even between contractions. The nurse wanted to switch to internal monitor because she was having a really hard time getting the baby to trace with the monitor belt, and I couldn't breathe so they gave me an oxygen mask. At my request, they turned off the pitocin. I was 7 cm, then 8, and was begging to be knocked out. More screaming. Lots of tears. I'm sure transition is awful in general...but going from no pain directly to transition pain was insane. It was awful being confined to the bed because of the epidural but having no pain relief - I just couldn't get away from it.
With my (wonderful) doula's help, I managed to get back in control of myself somehow, and felt ready to push a bit before 6 pm. It took the doctor a few minutes to get back to the room after the nurse called her, and those minutes were hard. I pushed for 7 minutes total after the doctor arrived - maybe 3 contractions? Our (big!) baby was born at 6:04 pm on Monday (10/17) after a long and hard labor - over 34 hours from the first contraction. DH told me that it was a boy, then I heard him (the baby) cry. It was incredible.
He came out with his hand next to his head, and everyone (myself included) was surprised that I didn't tear at all - especially given his size (8 lbs 14 oz, 21 in long). We allowed a student EMT to watch, which was interesting...because my doctor had him right in there helping. Poor guy looked a little bewildered...but hopefully it was a good experience for him.
My headache lingered for a bit, but otherwise I felt pretty good after baby was born. Ian is adorable - I still can't get over how big he is, especially compared to older DS at birth (2 lbs 4 oz bigger, 1.5 in longer). It's no wonder he's been fairly inactive for the last month or so - I bet he's just been out of room!
Ian's entrance wasn't as smooth (or intervention-free) as I would have liked...but I'm accepting it for what it was. He's here and healthy...and we are so thankful.
Edited by ThreeCats - 10/20/11 at 11:27am